SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. – A Fontana man was convicted Friday of murder after strangling his estranged wife to death and then dumping her body in Chino in 2013. After a day of deliberations, the jury found 44-year-old Victor Lopez guilty of first degree murder in the killing of Lorna Lopez and found true the allegation that he had used a deadly weapon, a cord.
According to Supervising Deputy District Attorney Norma Alejo, who prosecuted the case, the 40-year-old victim had recently told her husband she was planning to seek a divorce.
On March 12, 2013, Victor Lopez and Lorna Lopez were reported missing by relatives. The investigation into the missing couple led officers to 41-year-old Joseph Rodriguez, the defendant’s nephew. A search warrant was served on the home of Rodriguez in Huntington Park where officers found evidence linked to the disappearance of Lorna Lopez, a bag of bloody clothes. The Fontana Police Department decided to put out a media release advising that Victor Lopez and Lorna Lopez were being sought as missing persons.
After seeing himself on television, Victor Lopez contacted his family and advised that he was not missing but had just left for a few days. He claimed to be unaware that his wife was missing.
The Fontana Police Department questioned the defendant and confronted him with the bloody clothes that were discovered. Victor Lopez eventually admitted that there had been an argument between him and Lorna Lopez. He also told investigators where his wife’s body could be found.
Victor Lopez took the stand at trial and claimed he had killed his wife under heat of passion after having discovering his wife was seeing someone else. On March 8, 2013 Victor Lopez discovered that the victim was dating someone. The victim told him that she would be filing the divorce paperwork on March 13. At trial, the evidence demonstrated that even though the victim and defendant lived under the same roof they had been living separate lives.
“On March 12, the defendant strangled his wife to death following an argument and took her body to a site in Chino where he dumped it,” said Alejo.
Joseph Rodriguez was charged with Accessory After the Fact and pleaded guilty as charged in June 2013. Victor Lopez faces 26 years to life in state prison. He will be sentenced April 7, 2017 at the Rancho Cucamonga Superior Court.